Interactive Website 101
As the internet gets more and more competitive, building an interactive website is more important than ever.
What is an interactive website?
Simply put, it’s a website which lets its visitors interact within the community, rather than just a static website which doesn’t offer the opportunity for feedback or interaction from the visitor.
There are no specific rules or interactive models to include in your website, and you’ll need to test different approaches to see which work best for your business.
To get you started, here are a few tried and tested interactive methods that may be right for you.
#1 – A community forum. A forum isn’t difficult to add to your website. There are many webmasters and virtual assistants that can help you with this task. Once you have your forum in place, it’s the place where people can connect and add comments to your website.
A forum not only builds a community feeling but may also help your website rankings within the search engines. Search engines love fresh, updated, original content and a forum helps you achieve this.
However, it’s worth noting that forums can be difficult to get off the ground, and maintaining them does take time and effort. Many forums get plagued by spammers so it’s good to have a set plan in place for dealing with this before starting. You’ll need to put time into deleting “spammy” messages, dealing with member issues, and generally monitoring the happenings of the forum.
But don’t let that put you off; an active forum is a fantastic addition to your website. Just go into it knowing the pros and cons of having one.
#2 – Add a blog. A blog is another fantastic addition to your website. Search engines love blogs because they can be a source of fresh, updated content. A blog is also a great place for your visitors to leave comments and interact with you on a personal level.
To really make a blog interactive, add a dash of personalization to it. You don’t want the blog to read simply like a web page or article. This is the place where you can let your personality shine through and show a little more of your “personal” side.
#3 – Twitter and Facebook. These two seem to go hand in hand and both are great tools for building a loyal following of friends and fans on the internet. Similar to a blog, Twitter and Facebook entries can be a little more personal.
But don’t forget to add business posts to your personal side as well if your end goal is to increase your business. An important point to note is that your personal information will be on display for all to see. Before posting, always ensure that you’re happy for any current or potential customer to view your posts.
Add your Twitter and Facebook information to your web pages to make it easy for your visitors to find you.
#4 – Start a newsletter. If you haven’t done so, this is one of the best interactive tools for your business. Not only does a newsletter allow you to freely communicate with your visitors and potential customers over and over again, but it’s also a great way to receive feedback for your business.
If you monitor your emails on a regular basis and put a system for replying to them in place, then your visitors will feel that there is a “real” person behind the website and this will help them feel more integrated with your business.
#5 – Add a poll. Adding a poll to your web pages or newsletter is a great way for customers and visitors to voice their opinion. It’s also a fantastic way for you to do market research. Regular polls will not only help your visitors feel their voice is heard and that they are part of your website, but will also help you gather important information to potentially help you improve your website and marketing.